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Korea’s first dance singer Kim Choo-ja comes back in 33 years

Korea’s first dance singer Kim Choo-ja comes back in 33 years

Posted May. 28, 2014 05:49,   


It was just like a return of a legendary foreign rocker.

Kim Choo-ja, a popular singer from the 1970s, strode ahead, flapping her black long curly hair. She closed her eyes and shook her head to the rhythm of her new song “Someone Who Left” written by veteran rocker Shin Joong-hyun. The repetitive passage composed of a mixture of guitar and drum sounds reminded of the ominous sounds of British rock band Black Sabbath.

The singer that this reporter met in Euljiro, the center of Seoul, on Tuesday, was surely the woman who caused a great sensation on the Korean music scene in the 1970s with numerous hit songs such as “Before It Is Too Late,” “A Cup of Coffee,” “It’s a Lie,” “First Sergeant Kim from Vietnam,” and “You, So Far Away.” Kim who has fallen off the radar of the Korean music industry since she got married in 1981 has returned in 33 years with a new album to be released next Monday. The title of the album is “It Is Not Too Late.” This is her first album in the form of CD. Given the period of time she has left, it is not surprising.

“I am thrilled and excited that I can be on the stage again over 30 years after being just an ordinary wife and mom. I have listened to various songs and analyzed them for the past 10 to 20 years. My husband and daughter even told me I was crazy about songs.”

Her daughter Park Hye-won who is taking a doctorate course at Seoul National University has given her lots of encouragement when she was preparing for a comeback. “My daughter told me sitting next to me in front of a mirror. ‘Mom, it is not too late. Both of us are aging, but you don’t even have wrinkles. Not singing for people who want to listen to your song is also a fault.’”

Five of the nine songs in the new album are unreleased works of Shin Joong-hyun. Park Ui-sik, the CEO of her management company ESP Entertainment, said, “We selected the songs from about 10 songs that we have gotten from Shin around 1987 and started to prepare for the album in April 2012.” The album also includes two songs written by late song writer Lee Bong-jo (1931∼1987) who also wrote one of her old songs titled “Deserted Island” and one song written by veteran song writer Kim Hee-gap.

Her voice has not changed a bit. The sharp and husky tone in “You Didn’t Understand Me,” one of her songs from Shin, had that of Mick Jagger of Rolling Stones or Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses. Her mid- and low tones seemed still intact in the song “Look at the Sky” written by Lee Bong-jo. The song “Solitary Mind” written by Shin Joong-hyun is somewhat similar to “You, So Far Away” in the way of drawing last part of measures.

She said it was natural for her to quit her singing career after marriage. “People said I was a spy or something when I was in show business, so I didn’t feel like to sing anymore. I was happily married. But I wanted to let people listen to my songs again before my voice turns worse.”

Kim Choo-ja often dubbed as the first dance signer of Korea still says she can get her voice out “when she moves her body.” Kim’s comeback concert is scheduled for June 28 and 29 in Coex D Hall in Gangnam District of Seoul. (More information available at 070-8886-9219)